28 November-4 December 2014 #734

Teach to fight trafficking

#TaughtNotTrafficked campaign aims to raise awareness about trafficking by improving education in rural schools
Stéphane Huët

REAL TO REEL: Sold, a film based on Patricia McCormick's novel of the same name was screened at QFX Kumari last week. The film will be released worldwide in March 2015.
Nepal ranks number 20 out of 162 countries in this year’s Global Slavery Index 2014 published by the Walk Free Foundation. But the nature of trafficking of children for sexual slavery is changing: while earlier the girls were mainly sold to brothels in India, trafficking within Nepal has become as serious. An estimated 228,700 people, mainly young girls, are enslaved in Nepal. Of the 2.6 million working children in Nepal, 127,000 are toiling in hazardous and difficult conditions with little or no pay. 

UNICEF reports that 7,000 women and girls are trafficked out of Nepal to India every year, and around 200,000 are currently working in Indian brothels. International trafficking of Nepali women has also grown with women assured of jobs as domestics being lured into the sex trade, or facing abuse within households in the Gulf. A majority of trafficked children were school dropouts and the risk of a child being trafficked was found to decrease by 80 per cent if she stayed in school until 16.

The shocking numbers came out during the launch in Kathmandu last week of the Jeffrey D Brown film, Sold, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Patricia McCormick which tells the story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old Nepali girl, who is taken from her village to work in a brothel in Kolkata. 

The group, Childreach Nepal used the premier to design a new campaign, #TaughtNotTrafficked which aims to work with rural schools to improve the education environment in Nepal. Tshering Lama of Childreach Nepal says the campaign aims at raising awareness in the general public but will also go where the problem is, in rural areas of Nepal. The campaign will support schools by designing a new curriculum, and providing teacher training, and build health centres and girls’ toilets in central Nepal. 

Humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine, who inspired the role of Sophia in Sold, was also present at the launch. Her exhibition, ‘Enslaved’, was hosted at the Siddhartha Art Gallery from 19 to 25 November and highlighted the global problem of modern slavery in the world.

Also involved in #TaughtNotTrafficked is founder of Courageous Girls Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, a child abuse victim herself. Courageous Girls work towards providing healing through adventure and is preparing to walk up to Mt Everest Base Camp with five American and five Nepali survivors. 

Also present at the Sold screening last week was Sunita Dunwar, a trafficking survivor who said that while educating children and controlling the borders are important, the most effective prevention would be to raise awareness among parents in villages.

Read also:

Sold in Los Angeles, Sangita Shresthova

Descent into Hell, JB Pun Magar and Baburam Biswokarma

One small step against trafficking, Dipak Gyawali

Stop child trafficking, From the Nepali Press

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